How to Detox Your Small Business in 2014

by Brandi-Ann Uyemura

2 min read

Detox diets are popular among celebrities and the health conscious, especially after holiday binges. Can these periodic “cleanses” be beneficial for businesses, too?

Author and small-business consultant Regina Anaejionu thinks so. She observes that “the reason most of us cleanse our bodies is we’ve gradually let in unnecessary toxins and want to get rid of them to achieve optimal health. Our businesses can be viewed the same way.”

If you’ve recently adopted some bad work habits, you may be preventing your business from running as smoothly as it should. How do you change these “toxic” behaviors to nourish your company instead? Here are four steps to better business health.

1. Eliminate misaligned projects. The more projects the better, right? Not necessarily. Although accepting work may seem aligned with your bottom line (because you’re increasing your income), Anaejionu warns that taking on misaligned projects can eat away at your time and energy.

“While [it’s] acceptable every so often, don’t make a habit of taking on projects that don’t match your brand and mission. You’ll frustrate yourself and your customer and delay the process of reaching your goals,” she advises. Instead, “detoxify by referring those clients elsewhere and use that free time to market and grow your business.”

2. Let go of unhealthy relationships. According to social media strategist and Keppie Careers owner Miriam Salpeter, “The beginning of the year is a good time to evaluate if a relationship is working. Have goals been met? Is the time or effort spent passing along that person’s or business’s information worthwhile? Is that business holding up their end of the bargain?”

If your answer is “no,” consider saying goodbye to the relationship. Staying in poor partnerships will drain precious time, energy, and resources that you could invest in more beneficial relationships.

3. Free yourself from financial burden. Were you lured by holiday sales and year-end tax deductions? It’s time to buckle down and re-evaluate your past financial decisions. “Look around at what you can sell, cancel, or downgrade to free up more money for absolute necessities and beneficial opportunities,” Anaejionu suggests.

For example, ask yourself whether you really need a separate phone for your business (can you use your personal phone or Google Voice instead?) or office space (is working from home an option?). Make sure all of your spending in 2014 enhances your chances of reaching your business goals, she says.

4. Stay mindful of your actions going forward. Small-business owners accumulate toxic behaviors unintentionally by not being mindful of their day-to-day decisions. “In the same way that a dieter might not refer back to his diet to see if what he’s about to eat is an allowed food, business owners often don’t refer back to their business plan or objectives to see if decisions they’re about to make line up with their brand and goals,” Anaejionu says.

Being conscientious about your actions prevents negative repercussions associated with toxic behavior. Stay mindful by continuing to evaluate current projects, partnerships, and responsibilities throughout the year. Once you’re truly aware of what you’re doing, Salpeter adds, you can take positive steps to eliminate behaviors may be hindering your business.

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